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Data Scientist

Apply expert data management and data analysis to support the strategic planning and operational effectiveness of key fundraising programs.

U. of Michigan, Office of DevelopmentCompany: U. of Michigan, Office of Development
Location: Dearborn, MI

Posting Number: 82761
Reports To: Associate Director of Analytics
Experience Range: 2 to 5 Years

A cover letter is required for consideration for this position and should be attached as the first page of your resume. The cover letter should address your specific interest in the position and outline skills and experience that directly relate to this position.

Apply online .

To apply for this position, please submit your cover letter and resume as one document on the University of Michigan Careers at the U site.

If you are unable to apply via the U-M Jobs site, please submit your cover letter and resume to
In the subject line, please type "Job 82761, Data Scientist".

Position Description

The Data Scientist applies expert level knowledge of data management and data analysis to support the strategic planning and operational effectiveness of key fundraising programs including annual, major, principal, and planned giving. Specifically, the Data Scientist gathers, manages, and studies internal and external data using data preparation, statistical modeling, and data mining techniques to understand the pool of potential University of Michigan donors. The acquired knowledge is used in the development of systems that improve the efficiency of fundraising operations.

Characteristic Duties and Responsibilities

Machine Learning / Model Building, Statistical Analysis, and Data Mining (35%)

  • In collaboration with the Associate Director of Analytics, consult with University of Michigan schools, colleges, and units to identify and implement analytics-based solutions for growing fundraising opportunities and improving fundraising processes.
  • Use innovative data sources and advanced statistical modeling, data mining, and machine learning for market research applications, such as segmenting donors into interesting subgroups and modeling individual-level behavior such as giving, event participation, and volunteering.
  • Develop best-in-class predictive models for identifying major giving prospects and forecasting revenue while accurately assessing and communicating the models' limitations.
  • Apply statistical hypothesis testing methods to estimate the impact of decisions and quantify the uncertainty surrounding decision-making. Communicate findings to members of the development community.
  • Synthesize information and disseminate results by producing informative reports, tables, presentations, and visualizations (e.g., charts, maps, and infographics).
  • Use software tools such as Excel, Access, R, SAS, SPSS, SQL Server, Weka, Tableau, MapPoint, and PowerPoint to analyze data and present results.

Data Management, Data Acquisition, and Knowledge Generation (25%)

  • Leverage available data sources by writing SQL queries to retrieve and append data in internal SQL databases. Work with various OUD groups such as the Data Management Team to identify, improve, maintain, and share data gathered from the University's various internal sources.
  • Identify and gather innovative providers of data to supplement donor and alumni data already collected by the University. These may include sources such as census records, surveys, focus groups, demographic studies, marketing data, social networking website data, etc.
  • Use tools such as regular expressions, web APIs, and scripting languages (e.g., Python) to develop custom programs for scraping, cleaning, and standardizing unstructured sources of data such as websites, text documents, and entity relationships.
  • Continuously improve the quality of available data and reproducibility of analyses by developing and contributing to standard processes. Prepare reusable standard analysis files (SAFs) by using well-documented R and SQL to access data warehouses, import and/or move data between stores, and take random samples. Maintain data dictionaries to support knowledge transfer.

Systems Analysis and Development (25%)

  • Contribute development effort and high-level planning to web-based applications that improve business processes across University of Michigan fundraising teams. Design wireframes, flowcharts, and data structures in collaboration with the Web and Data Team to ensure that the applications are secure, standards-based, and user-friendly. Evaluate and improve the applications over time.
  • Automate the generation of reports and analyses that occur on a repeated basis.
  • Improve the efficiency of the OUD Analytics team through the creation of standard programming libraries / R packages, algorithms, APIs, and documentation.
  • Utilize a working knowledge of current technologies for "big data" (Hadoop, MapReduce, etc.) and agile web development (AngularJS, jQuery, Django, etc).

Analytics Program Outreach and Advancement (15%)

  • Assist with the efforts to promote the use of data-driven decision making within the development community. Provide marketing and support of the Analytics Team's web applications to fundraising units around campus.
  • Collect marketing and benchmarking data that support the business processes/outcomes of the University's fundraising efforts and justify the Analytics Team efforts.
  • Identify external and internal sources of collaboration. Stay abreast on trends inside and outside the fundraising industry.
  • Improve the visibility of the University of Michigan by representing the institution in public forums, processional conferences, and publications.

Required Qualifications

  • Master's degree or Bachelor's degree with equivalent combination of education and experience. Also a demonstrated ability to apply modeling and analysis skills to real-world problems. Proven ability to find creative solutions while producing actionable results.
  • Expert-level fluency in data management, machine learning and statistical analysis software including R, SQL, Weka, Python, among others.
  • The capacity to work in a research environment that requiring the ability to synthesize complex and large data in a clear and cohesive manner. Must be able to present information in formal and informal settings, and impart understanding of complex ideas and statistics to others.
  • The persistence necessary to solve difficult problems while working independently, managing multiple projects, and meeting deadlines in a fast-paced environment.
  • Highly developed interpersonal, written, and oral communications skills.
  • A high degree of professionalism, ethical sensitivity, and discretion; ability to maintain a commitment to confidentiality.
  • A strong desire to maintain fluency in cutting-edge analytical practices, algorithms, and software tools necessary for providing industry-leading fundraising analytics.

Preferred Qualifications

  • Ph.D. (or equivalent level of experience)
  • A track record of disseminating findings in publications and/or professional conferences
  • Experience developing web applications, particularly using "agile" methods and technologies such as jQuery, AngularJS, etc.

Mission Statement The Office of University Development maximizes private support for the University of Michigan through high-quality collaboration with the development programs of schools, colleges, and units. We also provide fundraising leadership through the stimulation and facilitation of healthy, productive and life-long relationships with our colleagues, alumni, friends, foundations and corporations.

U-M EEO/AA Statement: The University of Michigan is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer.

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